The first documented surfing wardrobe malfunction is attributed to an unlikely personality – Agatha Christie. Yes, the world’s best-selling mystery fiction writer happened to be a keen surfer. In one of her surfing trips with her husband, her surfing outfit she described as a “handsome silk bathing dress” got torn by the force of the waves.
Christie’s unfortunate event is just one of the many reasons there’s still a hot debate about whether female surfers should wear bikinis when surfing. The other reason is surfing and sexism, a topic that former WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt focused on during her time.
Whether it is to avoid wardrobe malfunction or simply want to express your persona, you are in the right place. This article speaks about the best surf bikinis, including topics like;
- What makes a good surf bikini
- Prominent women’s swimwear malfunction and tips
- Women surfers camera inequality
Table of Contents
What Makes a Good Surf Bikini?
A surf bikini is not like your regular beach bikini. It has to be able to manage not rolling down past your butt checks at every duck dive. No boob should pop out. More importantly, it shouldn’t cause your neck to ache after surfing.
Save this dos and don’ts list as your reference for your next surf bikini shopping
- Look for cross-back or racerback bikinis – they spread out the weight of your boobs across your back and shoulders while keeping your assets closer to your body.
- Wear crop-top style surf bikinis if you have big boobs – crop tops offer the best coverage and prevent overspill out of the top. Even with no straps to tie, they won’t easily come undone when you stack
- Look for thick shoulder straps – these straps are comfortable on your shoulders. In addition, the larger your boobs, the wider your straps should be to disperse weight evenly
- Look for a wide hip band and drawstring – the wide hip band keeps your bottoms from rolling down at every dive. Plus, drawstrings let you tighten your bottoms.
- Get a bikini with a bit tighter bottoms – your new surf bikini will stretch like jeans along the way. If they don’t have drawstrings, you would want them to be as tight around your hips as possible.
- Look for stick-fabric – some fabrics grip on your skin. Either that or look for bikinis with rubber added to the edges.
- Look for strong and thick materials – your best choices are spandex or nylon bikinis
- Look for bikinis that tie around your ribs – not clasp.
- Pick halter neck bikini – when you paddle, you arch your back and pull your shoulders close together to keep your chest off the board. A halter neck will put contra forces on your neck. Not to mention the weight of your boobs that may put unnecessary strain on your body that may cause neck and headaches.
- Wear a bikini with an underwire – the underwire can dig into your side and ribs when you paddle.
- Wear a strapless bikini – you don’t want to play peek-a-boo with your boobs.
- Wear triangle bikini – they may likely move side to side or top to bottom.
- Wear a side-tie bikini – its thin ties roll down. Plus, when tied tight, it might cut into your skin.
The general rule is never to put fashion before function – particularly with fabric texture.
Top 5 Best Surf Bikinis Reviewed
Any female surfer needs to have a surf bikini that stays on – no slips, no slipping off, no sneaks. From paddling out to popping up, you would want to have your bikini staying put and still making you look cute.
Let’s narrow down your choices from the many surf bikinis in the market. Our list of the best surf bikinis goes:
- Nike Women’s Core Solids Sport Two Piece Surf Bikini
- Hurley Max Solid Scoop Bikini Top
- TYR Sport Women’s Solid Durafast Workout Surf Bikini
- Roxy Women’s Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottom
- O’Neill Women's Faro Active Top
Nike is committed to bringing innovation to every athlete in the world – with their shoes and apparel. This giant company is serious about every product they put out to the public. This includes the clothing they engineered for women in surfing.
The Nike Women’s Core Solids Sport Two Piece Surf Bikini is not the bikini for looking fancy and fashionable. It is for keeping the surfer cozy while feeling athletic. Wear it for swimming or surfing; it stays on and doesn’t roll-up.
While most surfers debate about the best surfboard, other surfers, particularly women, have their most important question – what kind of active bikini to get. The answer is this pair of bikinis from Nike. This basic but elegant surf bikini is made out of nylon and spandex, allowing for quick drying and body fitting.
This surf bikini from Nike is our top pick not only because of its excellent shape retention and chlorine-resistant fabric but because they are sold as pairs. Sometimes, it’s too much to find a pair for a top or bottom you bought separately.
|Patented chlorine-resistant fabric||Sizing can be confusing|
|Comes in pair|
This brand that grew into a global youth culture brand has its roots sunk deep in the beach lifestyle. Therefore, it is no surprise that it’s one of the best surf bikinis we have on the list. Hurley is a unique blend of style and performance and only uses the best materials appropriate for both in and out of the water.
Their Max Solid Scoop Bikini Top when partnered with Quick Dry Ribbed Bikini Bottom offer the best coverage with its generous fabric in the front.
Most of Hurley’s tops are perfect for surfing. The company is focused on giving sturdy and enough coverage, soft material, and strappy backs. These are all guaranteed to stay on as you surf while also providing sleek style.
The bottoms seem to be designed to show some cheeks but maintain position with the grippers that stop it from riding up too much. Overall, this pair is perfect for taking that next wave and not worrying about slips.
|Lightweight but not too thin||Short life span|
|Made for peak performance|
Made of 100% polyester, the Durafast is one of the strongest surf bikinis in the market today. Tyr Sport’s swimwear, including this surf bikini, is fully lined and offers UPF 50+ sun protection while allowing you a 360-degree range of motion.
The Durafast is best for lady surfers who want reliable coverage for every surf. It features a moderate to entire coverage top and bottom with sleek straps and adjustable drawcord waist. Now, that’s one thing we crossed off from the Do list above.
Designed with practicality in mind, this surf bikini is perfect for the surfer with simple taste. Both top and bottom come in simple black, navy, and royal color options with no pattern but an excellent strappy design. This is to allow the wearer to mix and match it with other clothing pieces.
Professionals have tested the Durafast in professional and recreational events and have proven its advantage over other brands. In addition, these surf bikinis are made from TYR’s patented textile, Durafast One, which dries quickly and lasts for a long time.
|Lasts 20 times longer than other brands||Lacks support for the busty wearer|
|Flexible straps and drawstring bottom|
|Includes lining for tops|
Roxy doesn’t fail to release a bunch of super cute ranges for swimmers and surfers every year. But, among the many bikinis they release, their Women’s Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottom remains the female surfer’s favorite.
Great to pair with the Women's Sea Waves Reversible Athletic Bikini Top, both come stylish and athletic at the same time. It wasn’t too revealing, and the comfort was just right.
You are guaranteed for this pair to not come off in the surf. The bottom’s wider cut allows for worry-free surfing. This means the bottoms won’t ride up and stay on full coverage up to the last wave surfed.
Overall, this surf bikini is fantastic to have in your closet, so just in case you need to surf, you can grab and go.
|The simple design can match any tops||Very low rise, may not be suitable for people with booty|
|Thick but comfortable materials|
O’Neill has been in the surfing industry since 1952. The company’s experience with neoprene wetsuits, among other things, is one of the reasons you can trust them for surf bikinis.
The Faro Active Top can be paired with the Women's Solid Banded Hipster Bikini. Together, they bring one of the most comfortable surf bikinis. The top’s thick straps are enough to keep the boobs stay in place during the whole surfing session.
The bottoms offer full coverage, so if you are just looking for a tan line, this isn’t your bikini. Its materials are easy on the skin and don’t irritate as other surf bikinis do. Like the top, the bottom can stay on while doing activities as physical as surfing.
|Comfortable material||Has underwire|
Prominent Women Surfer’s Swimwear Malfunctions and Tips
Aside from Agatha Christie, other respected women surfers have also encountered surf bikini mishaps at least once in their careers. Two of them share their experience to show women surfers that anything can happen with the wrong choice of surf bikini.
Fiona Wylde – Professional SUP Surfer
“The dreaded thought of losing a bikini top or bottom while surfing is a fear I think a lot of girls worry about, and rightfully so! Once I was surfing with my boyfriend’s dad, Norm, at an outer reef on Maui when I got pounded to the bottom. Normally I wouldn’t have had second thoughts, but when I popped up for air, something felt, well, shall I say very free?”
She learned the hard way how triangle top bikinis should be avoided. And, better to have a surf buddy with a shirt for emergency purposes.
Annie Reickert – NSP Team Rider
“I decided early on that I didn’t want to spend my time and energy in the water worrying about losing my swimsuit. I have it pretty much down to a science at this point. I wear Pakaloha bikinis because they stay put!”
Good that she was aware early on that anything can happen in the water. Take her principles and think hard when deciding on a surf bikini.
Women Surfers Camera Inequality
When Sophie Goldschmidt became the WSL CEO in 2017, she made sure that strict sexual harassment guidelines govern the competitive surfers of the league. This decision came after sexual misconduct allegations involving surfing’s most prominent players.
Her idea was – no inappropriate jokes, no leering at colleagues or competitors, gender equality in all parts of the operation.
These guidelines instructed all cinematographers to exercise discretion while shooting the women’s heats. Cinematographers must be careful not to zoom in on girls’ runs, especially during bottom turns or duck dives.
Female surfers in surf bikinis will have wider shots than those wearing boardshorts. The latter will be featured larger on the screen than those in skimpy swimwear.
A lot may happen once you cast off your board to the waters. The violent mix of the ocean, sand, leash, and board only need one wipe to send your bikini dangling around your neck or, worst, sinking far down the waters.
While one-piece swimwear is still the most advisable, female surfers shouldn’t be deprived of wearing the swimwear they most feel comfortable and proud of. After all, surfing is riding the waves with character, so it’s just right that your surf attire reflects your persona.
Just make sure to pick the “safest” surf bikini.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What’s the difference between a surf bikini and a regular bikini?
A: Surf bikinis keep you clothed in many ways a regular bikini won’t. When surfing, you would want to focus on getting the waves and not worrying about having your top still on when you pop out from the waves. The ocean’s currents and waves are powerful and you going against it makes it twice as powerful to do something on your swimwear.